August 2019

Our global membership

  • By AusIMM

Experiences from AusIMM members living and working across the globe

The AusIMM is internationally recognised and our members live and work all over the world, reflecting the global nature of the modern sector. In this special feature, we asked some of our international members to recount their experiences. These stories highlight the diverse opportunities on offer for talented resources professionals. 

Rosalyn Wullandhary MAusIMM, Geologist, Harita Mineral

Jakarta, Indonesia

The company that I work for, Harita Mineral, is located in Jakarta, but our mine is on Obi Island. Before working for Harita, I was based in Sorowako where I worked for Vale Nickel Company for seven years.

I moved to Jakarta for family reasons, as it is near health and medical facilities and I have extended family that live here.

Living in Sorowako and Jakarta have been two totally different experiences. Sorowako is not a big place – there is no shopping centre there, only the facilities provided by Vale. But it had a good local community, and you were more social with others because everyone is living far away from their families.

Jakarta is a big city with a lot of different urban cultures. This has meant that I work with not just people in mining, but I also have colleagues from other industries such as government and oil and gas companies.

Jakarta is such a busy city with many people and lots of traffic. As mentioned, living and working here has allowed me to meet lots of different people. 

Thanks to my time in Jakarta, I am now active in two different geology societies.

Dean McMinn MAusIMM(CP),
Senior Consultant – Mine/Economic Geology, SRK Consulting

Cardiff, Wales

I made the move from Sydney to Cardiff around nine years ago. I received UK resident status around two years ago and will be receiving my dual (Australian/UK) citizenship in the near future.

I made the move to the UK after being promoted to a senior consultant role with SRK Consulting. Working where I do now allows me to have easier (quicker) access to more countries and companies. Being in the UK means I can access Europe, Africa, the Americas and most of the Middle East and Asia a lot more efficiently than previously.

I still have clients in South-East Asia, and they don’t mind the bigger turnaround time on travel for me to attend meetings or sites. I also make much better use of my holiday time with 2-3 day breaks in great locations. It is a lot harder to get back home to Australia, but as a career geologist you get to see a lot of Australia very early on. Although I would never get bored of seeing more!

Some other highlights of being based here in the UK include new faces and many new places. I have also been able to experience a new host of companies and operating mines. I now work all over the world and in many commodities. I’ve filled about eight passport books since arriving in the UK.

I particularly enjoy being in Wales, the land of rugby and Tom Jones. Cardiff is of course close to London, which is a massive financial hub with lots of existing and potential clients.

‘Being in the UK means I can access Europe, Africa, the Americas and most of the Middle East and Asia.

There is also a very active body of professionals in Cardiff and the surrounds. GeolSoc is another industry body like AusIMM, and is very active and regularly host events, conferences, industry nights and professional meetings in Cardiff, Bristol and London. 

Stella Searston FAusIMM, Principal Geologist, Mine Technical Services Ltd

Denver, USA

Over the past 15 or so years, my husband’s job has taken him all over the world, with myself and the family moving with him. We have lived in Australia, Canada, and the USA – first Salt Lake City and now Denver.

When we first moved to Canada in 2005, AMEC (now Wood) took me on and I continued to work for them when I moved to Salt Lake City. In 2017, I left Wood and started a mining consultancy with two former colleagues, Ted Eggleston and Todd Wakefield.

On the work side, it was eye-opening to get to Canada and specialise in National Instrument 43-101 and its requirements. This was a complete change from the JORC Code I knew in 2004, with a very different viewpoint on many aspects of mining reporting. Along with working on more than 350 technical reports, I’ve also been lucky enough to work with some of the most exciting initial public offerings (IPOs) in the USA and Canada.

I was fortunate to work with the SME Resources and Reserves committee in 2017, finalising the 2017 SME Guide. The inclusiveness of the committee was enlightening as it has a huge knowledge of industry, commodity and jurisdictional aspects.  

On a personal note, I have been able to visit a significant number of the major national parks in appreciation of the geology and landscape. I’ve also ticked off some bucket list items such as standing on an active glacier, watching Old Faithful erupt, taking a dogsled run up the frozen Klondike River and driving the length of the Mississippi. 

I have also been lucky enough to see a number of my musical heroes in concert, attend some amazing Broadway plays and see shows in Vegas.

Marc Allen MAusIMM,
Technical Director, Engeco


I moved to Singapore in September 2017 to join my wife who had relocated here from Perth for her career.

Working in Singapore provides a different perspective with respect to the mining industry. There’s no mining at all here in the country but it is where financial flows through the whole South-East Asia region originate. It’s also a hub for supply and marketing of minerals and oil and gas products for many multinational resource companies – including some of the largest Australian businesses.

As a consultant to the mining industry, Singapore provides a good base for me to work. There’s good access to global mining companies and still very good proximity to Australia. I do still have clients back in Australia and am there often on assignment. Being close to the financial centre of the region provides a good perspective on the industry and provides access to projects underway in the South-East Asia region.

‘The culture here in Singapore is a definite highlight, particularly when it comes to food.

On a personal note, the culture here in Singapore is a definite highlight, particularly when it comes to food. The island is a mix of Chinese, Malay and Indian culture as well as a relatively high proportion of expats from all over the world. Singapore is also a high-tech capital and an advanced, world-class city with excellent amenities and infrastructure. It’s a very easy place to live, coming from Australia, and definitely not a challenge to get absorbed into the day-to-day routine.

Steven King MAusIMM(CP),
Principal Metallurgist, Britannia Refined Metals/Glencore 

Greater London, UK

In 2016 I moved, along with my wife and two children, from regional South Australia to the UK to pursue new work opportunities as Principal Metallurgist with Britannia Refined Metals (BRM) with the Glencore group.

The principal metallurgist role, which was offered to me in 2016, operates from Britannia Refined Metals at Northfleet near London. Although it represented a continuation of my former role, the new position afforded me greater exposure to the European market and new opportunities for professional development.

The position requires me to work out of a more urban setting – a stark contrast to my former role. In terms of access to education, for both my children and myself, the opportunity to live in the greater London locale was a powerful incentive, particularly as part of the initial job offer was the opportunity to complete my PhD at University College London.

Furthermore, the Principal Metallurgist role at BRM (currently the largest lead refinery in Europe) represents a wide range of technical and organisational challenges for activities at Northfleet, in addition to supporting other elements of the Glencore group. This involves prompt response to traders and customers in delivering confident input on questions related to process development and processing opportunities. 

Autonomy is a key feature of the position and has afforded me the opportunity to redefine and grow the role, reflecting the requirements of a changing marketplace. As a first tier supplier of lead alloy products for the lead acid battery and undersea cable markets, BRM’s UK operation is well placed to support developments in both these fields.

The move from regional Australia to the urban UK has been a study of contrasts and involved a change from a large operational site with large staff numbers to a smaller cohort on a smaller site but still closely connected to the Glencore group. The current location, as a stand-alone refinery in close proximity to customers, defines contact with traders as another key difference.

The enthusiasm and support at all levels for development Projects is one strong positive feature of the workplace culture at BRM that deserves mention. There is an appreciation that process and efficiency improvement is to everyone’s benefit, and I am very grateful to all at BRM to be working in this supportive environment.

Benny Cha FAusIMM,
Director of Natural Resources, Roma Group Limited 

Hong Kong

I made the move from Perth to Hong Kong in 2011, the year that the AusIMM Hong Kong Branch was created. I have lived and worked here ever since.

I moved to Hong Kong to take on a role as Asia Pacific Manager for a mining consulting firm which was setting up an office here. This was at a time when the capital market for natural resources was booming in Asia.

As an Asian Australian, I am comfortable with both the Chinese and Australian cultures. This is advantageous in Hong Kong due to its international and dynamic nature.

Professionally, Hong Kong has been something new for me as there are no operating mines here. Mining activities in Hong Kong are all to do with capital markets, advisory, consulting and collaborating with other non-technical professionals working on resources projects. Having worked as a geologist in Western Australia and Africa before moving to Hong Kong, I gained the practical experiences in the bush, on sites and in software before moving to Hong Kong to provide technical advisory to clients.

Hong Kong is the financial hub of Asia and is the doorstep into mainland China. This mixture of energy, people, finance and various cultures makes Hong Kong an exciting place to both live and work.

To me, Hong Kong is an extremely dynamic, international and energetic place. It never sleeps. If I am hungry at 2 am, I can just walk down the road and have a bowl of noodles in front of me in five minutes. The food, art, architecture, STEM and financial aspects of the city are what make Hong Kong special. It’s an ‘east meets west’ scene and is definitely ‘Asia’s World City’.

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